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EXCLUSIVE: 22 U.S. senators call for marriage equality plank in Dem platform

Feinstein, Kerry, Cardin among those expressing support; list continues to grow

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein is among the U.S. senators backing the inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A group of U.S. senators is joining the wave of LGBT rights supporters calling for an endorsement of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

The Washington Blade received statements from the offices of 22 Democratic senators — including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — expressing support for including a marriage equality plank in the Democratic Party platform. The Blade solicited statements from all 53 Democratic senators and will update this article as more senators respond.

The senators follow the lead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who on Tuesday became the first U.S. senator this year to get behind the idea of including same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform. Shaheen, who’s also a co-chair of President Obama’s national campaign committee, said she backs a plank in support of marriage equality proposed by the LGBT organization Freedom to Marry.

In addition to calling for an inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform, the language also backs overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and passing DOMA repeal legislation known as the Respect for Marriage Act in addition to opposing state constitutional amendments aimed at blocking gay couples from marriage rights.

The 22 senators are Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The platform committee is set to discuss and agree upon language in the Democratic Party platform when it gathers for the Democratic National Convention Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C. Officials with Democratic National Committee have declined to comment on whether the platform will be “marriage-equality inclusive.

A number of senators issued statements to the Blade saying they want marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform without offering an explicit endorsement of language as proposed by Freedom to Marry:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

“I support a pro-marriage equality plank. Discrimination in our marital laws or otherwise against any Coloradan or American because of sexual orientation is unacceptable. Two people who want to enter into a loving committed relationship should be afforded the same legally recognized rights and benefits I enjoys with my wife.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

“I strongly support marriage equality and efforts to make that a reality for all Americans, including adding marriage equality language to our party’s platform. I was proud to be one of the 14 senators who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, and we cannot stop until we repeal this unjust law and start treating all our families with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

“Of course marriage equality should be a part of the Democratic Party platform. It should be a part of the Republican Party platform, too. Whom you love should have no bearing on your access to the equal rights due every American citizen. It is time the law recognizes what the majority of Americans already recognize is a human right: marrying the person you love. Democrats have led the way in significant marriage equality victories in the states these last few years, so for the Democratic Party to not include marriage equality in our platform now would be to miss an important opportunity to reinforce and strengthen our continued national leadership on the issue.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

“As the author of the bill to repeal DOMA and one of 14 senators who voted against DOMA in 1996, I strongly believe marriage equality should be part of the Democratic platform.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

“Marriage equality is one of the most significant civil rights battles of our time, and the Democratic Party must address this issue in its platform. The New Jersey legislature bravely passed legislation to provide marriage equality in our state, and I have co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to repeal DOMA. We will continue this fight until same-sex couples have the right to marry and every family in our country is provided the same legal protections.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)

“Fundamentally, I do not view this as an issue of special rights, but simply one of equal rights. No American should have to wait outside a hospital room while their loved one suffers inside. No American should lose their inheritance simply because the federal government does not recognize the couple’s marriage. No child should feel that their parents are somehow less equal under the law than their best friend’s parents. This kind of discrimination cannot be tolerated in our society as a matter of law. Our world is changing and our society must change with them. I fully support making marriage equality a fundamental piece of the Democratic Party platform.”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

“As you may know, Maryland recently passed legislation legalizing same sex marriage. Consistent with that, I would support the inclusion of language in the Democratic platform that calls for the repeal of DOMA, and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. I would also support language stating clearly that all Americans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, guaranteed by our Constitution.” (Rachel MacKnight, a Mikulski spokesperson, clarified her boss wants the inclusion of marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“Equality is something that has always been a hallmark of America and no group should be deprived it. Marriage equality is no different and it’s time for our nation to recognize that.” (Mike Morrey, a Schumer spokesperson, confirmed the senator wants same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

“As a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, one of 14 senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act, and a longtime believer in allowing all people the freedom to marry the one they love, I encourage the Democratic Party to stand together with those who want equality in marriage so they don’t have to face this battle alone.”

Other senators — including two where same-sex marriage was recently signed into law — went further and sent statements saying they back language as proposed by Freedom to Marry.

Freedom to Marry’s proposed language, included as part of its “Democrats: Say I Do!” campaign that was launched Feb. 13, follows. According to the organization, more than 28,000 people have the signed online petition in support of the language.

“The Democratic Party supports the full inclusion of all families in the life of our nation, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the Respect for Marriage Act and the overturning of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and oppose discriminatory constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving and committed same-sex couples.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

“I believe in equality for all families and think we should be looking at ways to expand civil rights, not reduce them. I’m fully supportive of the language in question.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)

“Yes, I support the inclusion of such language in the Democratic Party platform. I am a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act that would repeal DOMA and I am dedicated to ensuring protections against any form of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is consistent with the Maryland legislature’s passage of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

“I think this is an historic moment for the Democratic Party in our commitment to equal opportunity and our opposition to discrimination. In its significance, it’s not unlike the floor fight Hubert Humphrey led at the Democratic convention in 1948 to make clear the Party’s commitment to civil rights for African Americans, but the difference is that back then we were a Party divided, whereas now I think it’s a mainstream Democratic position to care about these protections for gay Americans, and I’m proud of that. We’ve made big strides. We ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and that put a close to an era that one day will seem as antiquated as the days before President Truman desegregated the military. When we pass the Respect for Marriage Act, so too will the era of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act be anachronistic in a country where we don’t believe there should be any second class citizens. I support marriage equality and I think Massachusetts has taught the country an important lesson about how marriage equality can work. I was pleased to see New York and Washington follow that example. No one should be worried about a party platform that celebrates those advances.” (Whitney Smith, a Kerry spokesperson, said her boss supports Freedom to Marry’s language.)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

“Fighting against discrimination in all its forms, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, is a hallmark of our party. I support passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, and I support efforts to ensure that government does not interfere with the freedom to marry.” (Tara Andringa, a Levin spokesperson, said her boss believes the platform committee should adopt the language proposed by Freedom to Marry.)

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

“I strongly support marriage equality for all Americans. It’s a question of fundamental fairness and the bedrock principle that we are all the same under the law. It should be part of the platform.” (Julie Edwards, a Merkley spokesperson, said her boss supports Freedom to Marry’s effort.)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

“As a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and a strong believer that we should be focused on broadening the civil rights of all Americans, this is certainly language that I would support.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

“This is an issue the American people are ahead of us on. It’s about time that our big tent party make it clear in its platform that every American, regardless of sexual orientation, should have the ability to marry the person they love, to make that public promise of commitment and mutual accountability in front of their family and friends, affirming their dedication to their partner by accepting the responsibility of marriage. I believe these bonds help strengthen our society.” (Jennifer Tallheim, a Udall spokesperson, said the senator supports Freedom to Marry’s proposed plank.)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in a statement from Freedom to Marry:

“I’m proud to join Freedom to Marry’s ‘Democrats: Say, I Do’ campaign. Along with the more than 20,000 Americans who have already signed the online petition, I call on the Democratic Platform Committee to affirm the freedom to marry in our party’s national convention platform this September.  Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families must include all our families, gay and straight.  Our party has a long tradition of leading the charge on important questions of justice.  Now is the time for the Democratic Party to stand up for the rights of same-sex couples and their families.”

Spokespersons for Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said their bosses support this language, but didn’t provide statements attributable to their respective senators.

Similarly, Bethany Lesser, a spokesperson for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also told the Blade her boss, the Senator, supports the plank as written by Freedom to Marry.

“As a lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, and a tireless advocate in the fight to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, Sen. Gillibrand is helping to lead the fight for equality in the Senate,” Lesser said. “There will be a clear contrast in this election between the two parties on issues of equality, justice and fairness.”

Kate Cyrul, a spokesperson for Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said her boss supports including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform, but isn’t endorsing any specific platform language. Ed Shelleby, a spokesperson for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) also said the senator support including marriage equality language in the platform.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, praised these senators for their endorsements and said his organization looks forward “to working with them and their Democratic colleagues to move forward this crucial plank.”

“These senators from across the nation all know firsthand that marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples, their kids, and their kin,” Wolfson said. “Their support shows real momentum among Democrats to make sure that the party does what the Democratic Party does at its best — fight discrimination in all its incarnations and lead the way forward toward a more perfect union.”

The offices of other senators responded to the Blade’s solicitation in other ways. David Carle, a spokesperson for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), noted he has taken a lead role in the effort to repeal DOMA in the Senate, but added “as far as potential platform issues are concerned, no groups have discussed ideas with him.”

Spokespersons for the offices of Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said they had no comment on including same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform. The offices of other senators didn’t immediately respond to the Blade’s solicitation.

Others who’ve endorsed a marriage equality-inclusive Democratic Party platform include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Young Democrats of America Executive Director Emily Sussman, and the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Huffington Post reported this week that former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold is also supportive. On Thursday, The Advocate reported that four of Obama’s national committee co-chairs — Bennet, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) — also back including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

The endorsement of these individuals puts them at odds with President Obama, who doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but continues to say he could evolve to support marriage equality. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether Obama wants to see support for same-sex marriage in the Democratic Party platform.

NOTE: The article has been updated to reflect the growing number of senators who support including marriage equality in the Democratic Party platform.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Rebecca Juro

    March 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I don’t know why anybody would think anything that appears in the Democratic Party platform has the slightest correlation to how these people actually legislate once they’re safely elected and in power. The 2008 Party Platform included ENDA and workplace rights and we all saw how hard they fought for those goals once the election was over, didn’t we?

    Maybe in the interest of honesty they should rename the Party platform “The Official Democratic Party Election Year Pandering Agenda”.

  2. Tom

    March 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    OR the “Give Us Your Money for Our Re-Election Campaigns and We’ll Trick You Gullible Fools Again” official 2012 Democratic Party platform.

  3. JesseRB

    March 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Right, because it’s only the Democrats who have done that. Luckily, this issue goes beyond mere politics, and beyond even following through with promises. Just the action of portraying support of same-sex marriage would be a huge boost to any kids or adults who find themselves feeling ostracized because of their sexuality. It would also, hopefully, let some voters who hold no opinion realize that this is indeed an issue that should be addressed.

  4. Robert C.

    March 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I understand that Harkin, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Mikulski, Murray, and Schumer all voted for DOMA originally, in 1996. The $64,000 question: WHY???!?!?!

    Disgusting. Shame on them!!! Seriously. If denial of civil rights is clearly not OK in 2012, why was it apparently fine with so many in 1996? What kind of message did this send to vulnerable gay young people in 1996? (While I do applaud them for finally trying to undo the damage, now.)

    Boxer and Feinstein can be justifiably proud of doing the right thing in 1996 when colleagues who knew better spinelessly did not.

    The legacy on the no or yes votes on DOMA in 1996 — including Bill Clinton’s support — is forever. It’s a cautionary tale for all current legislators.

  5. wayne

    March 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I have never been so proud of being a Democrat,learning about this plank since I, a Protestant, voted for JFK!

  6. Joe Schmoe

    March 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    It will attract more voters to the Democratic party than it will “put off” since such people wouldn’t vote Democratic anyhow! However, it can energize the hard core bigots to campaign more vigorously for the Republican nominee. It could allow the Evangelicals to rally around Romney, who is a Mormon.

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National

Activists demand ICE release transgender, HIV-positive detainees

Protest took place outside agency’s D.C. headquarters on Wednesday

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Jessycka Ckatallea Letona, an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who spent nearly two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, participated in a protest in front of ICE's headquarters in Southwest D.C. on Oct. 27, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Jessycka Ckatallea Letona is an indigenous transgender woman from Guatemala who fled persecution in her homeland because of her gender identity.

She asked for asylum in the U.S. in 2016 when she entered the country in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Ckatallea on Wednesday told the Washington Blade that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials placed her in a pod with 70 men at a privately-run detention center in Florence, Ariz. She also said personnel at another ICE detention center in Santa Ana, Calif., ridiculed her because of her gender identity and forced her to strip naked before she attended hearings in her asylum case.

Ckatallea spent a year and eight months in ICE custody before her release. She won her asylum case and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It was a very traumatic experience,” said Ckatallea as she spoke with the Blade in front of ICE’s headquarters in Southwest D.C. “I came to a country thinking that it would take care of me, that it would protect me because of my gender identity.”

Ckatallea is one of the more than a dozen immigrant rights activists who participated in a protest in front of ICE’s headquarters that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention campaign organized. Ckatallea, Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris and other protest participants demanded ICE immediately release trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from their custody.

The groups placed on the sidewalk in front of the building a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” to honor three trans women—Victoria Orellano, Roxsana Hernández and Johana “Joa” Medina León—who died in ICE custody or immediately after their release. The “ofrenda” also paid tribute to Pablo Sánchez Gotopo, a Venezuelan man with AIDS who died in ICE custody on Oct. 1.

Immigrant rights activists on Oct. 27, 2021, placed a Day of the Dead “ofrenda” outside U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Southwest D.C. that honored three transgender women and a man with AIDS who died while in ICE custody or immediately upon their release. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Ckatallea, Morris and the other protesters approached the building’s entrance and presented security personnel with a petition that calls upon President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “immediately release all transgender people, people living with HIV, and people with medical conditions from ICE custody.”

ICE has repeatedly defended its treatment of trans people and people with HIV/AIDS who are in their custody.

The Blade in July 2020 interviewed a person with HIV who was in ICE custody at the Adams County Detention Center, the same privately-run facility in which Gotopo was held until his hospitalization. The person with whom the Blade spoke described conditions inside the detention center as “not safe” because personnel were not doing enough to protect them and other detainees from COVID-19.

Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is among the dozens of lawmakers who have called for the release of all trans people and people with HIV/AIDS from ICE custody. The Illinois Democrat on Tuesday reiterated this call during a virtual briefing that Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Immigration Equality and the End Trans Detention Campaign organized.

“ICE’s clear inability to do better leads me to seek to end of ICE’s detention of all trans migrants,” said Quigley. “During both the Trump and Biden administration I led dozens of my colleagues to demand that ICE release transgender detainees and end its practice of holding trans migrants in custody. We had hoped that things would change with the new administration, so far I’m disappointed.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) also participated in the briefing alongside Immigration Equality Legal Director Bridget Crawford and Sharita Gruberg of the Center for American Progress and others.

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Texas

Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott signs anti-Trans youth sports bill

“Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids & adults- the emails to the Governor to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law”

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott (Blade file screenshot)

AUSTIN – Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Monday H.B. 25, an anti-Transgender youth sports bill banning Trans K-12 student-athletes from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. 

H.B. 25 is the 9th statewide bill signed into law this year banning transgender youth from participating in school sports and the 10th in the country. This bill also comes during a year when Texas lawmakers have proposed nearly 70 anti-LGBTQ bills, including more than 40 bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth — far more than any other state.

“We are devastated at the passage of this bill. Despite the powerful testimony of trans kids and adults, families and advocates, and the many emails and calls our community placed to the Governor’s office to veto this harmful piece of legislation it is now law,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, said.

“Most immediately, our focus is our community and integrating concepts of healing justice to provide advocates who have already been harmed by this bill with spaces to refill their cup and unpack the acute trauma caused by these legislative sessions. Our organizations will also begin to shift focus to electing pro-equality lawmakers who understand our issues and prioritize representing the vast majority of Texans who firmly believe that discrimination against trans and LGB+ people is wrong,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Texas state government was criticized for removing web pages with resources for LGBTQ youth, including information about The Trevor Project’s crisis services. The Trevor Project the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people.

“Transgender and nonbinary youth are already at higher risk for poor mental health and suicide because of bullying, discrimination, and rejection. This misguided legislation will only make matters worse,” Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director of The Trevor Project said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

To every trans Texan who may be feeling hurt and attacked by this legislation and months of ugly political debate — please know that you are valid, and you are deserving of equal opportunity, dignity and respect. The Trevor Project is here for you 24/7 if you ever need support, and we will continue fighting alongside a broad coalition of advocates to challenge this law,” Paley said.

********************

Additional resources:

Research consistently demonstrates that transgender and nonbinary youth face unique mental health challenges and an elevated risk for bullying and suicide risk compared to their peers.  

  • The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 1 in 5 attempted suicide. 94% of LGBTQ youth reported that recent politics negatively impacted their mental health. 
  • A newly published research brief on “Bullying and Suicide Risk among LGBTQ Youth,” found that 61% of transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) students reported being bullied either in-person or electronically in the past year, compared to 45% of cisgender LGBQ students. TGNB students who were bullied in the past year reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who were not. And TGNB students who said their school was LGBTQ-affirming reported significantly lower rates of being bullied (55%) compared to those in schools that weren’t LGBTQ-affirming (65%).
  • A 2020 peer-reviewed study found that transgender and nonbinary youth who report experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity had more than double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not experience discrimination based on their gender identity.
  • Trevor’s research has also found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (68%) had never participated in sports for a school or community league or club — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678678.

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National

Ohio high school cancels play with Gay character after Pastor complains

The School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month until the play was canceled

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Hillsboro High School (Screenshot via Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO-TV)

HILLSBORO, Oh. — A Southwest Ohio high school’s play was abruptly canceled after Jeff Lyle, a local pastor from Good News Gathering, complained of a gay character. 

Hillsboro High School’s fall production of “She Kills Monsters” was scheduled to open in less than one month, until students learned the play would be canceled last week, reports Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate WCPO

The story follows a high school senior as she learns about her late sister’s life. It is implied throughout the play that her sister is gay, according to the news station.

The play’s cancellation comes a week after Lyle, a long-time voice of the anti-LGBTQ+ religious-right in Ohio, and a group of parents confronted the production’s directors at a meeting, according to Cincinnati CBS affiliate Local 12. Lyle denies pressuring school officials, but tells WCPO he supports the decision.

“From a Biblical worldview this play is inappropriate for a number of reasons, e.g. sexual innuendo, implied sexual activity between unmarried persons, repeated use of foul language including taking the Lord’s name in vain,” Lyle said. 

Some families say they believe Lyle did influence the school’s decision. 

“I think that’s wrong,” Jon Polstra, a father of one of the actors, told WCPO. “All they would have had to do if they objected to something in the play was not go to the play.”

In a statement to Local 12, Hillsboro City Schools Superintendent Tim Davis said the play was canceled because it “was not appropriate for our K-12 audience.”

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that the school planned to perform a version intended for audiences as young as 11 years old. 

Students were “devastated” and “blindsided” by the news, according to WCPO. 

“It felt like we had just been told, ‘Screw off and your lives don’t matter,'” Christopher Cronan, a Hillsboro High student, said. “I am openly bisexual in that school and I have faced a lot of homophobia there, but I never expected them to cancel a play for a fictional character.”

Cronan’s father, Ryan, also voiced his frustration. 

“They want to say the town is just not ready, but how are you not ready? It’s 2021,” Ryan Cronan said.

Students have started a GoFundMe in hopes of putting on the production at a community theater in 2022.

“If we do raise enough money, I am going to be genuinely happy for a very long time, because that means people do care,” Cronan told WCPO.

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